All self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously. – Tom Robbins
I pity myself too much. This was the revelation I reached recently on my trip abroad, a trip I had the privilege to spend a lot of the time in quiet, meditative solitude.
Of all human emotions, perhaps the most useless and destructive is self-pity.
For me, it was very hard to realize that I’m a self-pitying person in regards to my chronic health problems. But the realization, although serving as a bitter slap in the face, has actually helped me to embrace life with a more open-minded, all-accepting attitude.
Let whatever comes come. Don’t fight, don’t struggle needlessly, and most of all, don’t mope for god’s sake.
What is Self-Pity?
Find it hard to accept a situation or circumstance in your life? Mull and muse over your problems constantly? Feel gloomy and depressed because of what life has dealt you? Feel like a victim? Have an inexplicable craving for the sympathy and condolences of others? Chances are that you’re a self-pitying person.
What is self-pity? It is an exaggerated sense of pity over one’s own life, position or circumstance. Most of us experience self-pity throughout our lifetimes, and although it can serve to be a self-soothing mechanism that assists us in later accepting or changing our circumstances, many times we make a toxic habit of it.
When self-pity is made a habit of, it not only impedes the progress we make in life, but it creates self-destructive cycles of self-sabotage. Sol wrote an article on the psychology of why misery can make you happy, which you may like to check out later.
11 Signs That You Chronically Self-Pity
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world. ~ Helen Keller
How much of a self-pitying person are you? Find out below:
#1 You find it hard to laugh at life and at yourself.
Taking yourself too seriously, and finding it difficult to laugh at your predicaments and defeats is a tell-tale sign of self-pity.
#2 You tend to crave for drama.
In truth, you might be a Drama Queen and tend to have a melodramatic streak to you. Usually this stems from extremist types of thinking (e.g. black-and-white, all-or-nothing mindsets).
#3 You tend to crave for sympathy.
Self-pity is so addictive because it gives us the momentary pleasure of being supported, cared for and emotionally pampered. This is a dangerous, highly maladaptive way of developing emotional bonds and connections with other people.
#4 You tend to be an individualist.
Self-pity is one of the most effective ways of keeping yourself separate and independent from the friends, family and people around you.
#5 You tend to be a past-orientated person.
Some people live in the present, others in the future, and still others in the past. Self-pity is inextricably linked to past-focused mindsets that dwell on past events.
#6 You have low self-esteem.
People with low self-esteem tend to crave the acceptance and affection of other people as a way of feeling better about themselves. The tragic-life-story that self-pitying creates is an excellent way of collecting flocks of supporters.
#7 You have a melancholic temperament.
I’ve written about the melancholic, sanguine, choleric and phlegmatic temperaments before. The melancholic temperament in particular is given to bouts of brooding and deep introspection, which can serve as a perfect breeding ground for self-pity.
#8 Deep down, you don’t believe you’re worthy of love.
This stems from low self-esteem and creates a cycle of self-destructive behavior. Self-pity is one of the greatest tools for the self-destructive person. It creates self-fulfilling prophecies and alienates all the people you love and admire from you.
#9 You have an unhealthy habit of being self-absorbed.
Quite simply, the more self-absorbed you are, the more likely you are to fall into the trap of self-pity.
#10 You have a strong fighting instinct.
This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you choose to use it for. When used in a negative sense, the fighting instinct is used to battle against life, to fight against the tide, and to fight against accepting reality.
#11 You subconsciously feel guilty.
Often times self-pity is an unconscious way of avoiding taking responsibility for personal actions or decisions made in the past. When we find it too difficult to accept the wrong that we’ve committed, sometimes we tend to hide from it by making ourselves the victims, rather than other people. In this case, self-pity is the perfect cowardly self-defense mechanism.
Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug. ~ Og Mandino
Feeling sorry for yourself is normal, and in some instance can serve as a natural stepping stone to developing acceptance of the difficulties and failures in your life. However, many of us make a habit out of self-pity, either to avoid taking personal responsibility, to avoid taking action, or simply to gain sickly and unhealthy forms of affection and attention from other people.
If you’ve discovered that you struggle with this issue, be kind to yourself. Understand that self-pity is a maladaptive coping mechanism, but one that you can remove from your life with time, persistence, and patience.